Burnaby, company poised for showdown
Kinder Morgan's facility in Burnaby. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)
The Mayor of Burnaby is adamant nothing has changed following the National Energy Board’s ruling that oil company Kinder Morgan could begin survey work for a potential rerouting of its Trans Mountain pipeline project under Burnaby Mountain.
“It was more of a non-ruling than anything else,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan in an interview. “It simply restated what the regulations say.”
While Corrigan agrees the city cannot prevent crews from gaining access to city property, he said the ruling does not allow them to drill, cut down trees or do anything that violates city bylaws.
Trans Mountain project officials, however, believe the ruling allows them to trump city bylaws, which opens the dispute up to a showdown when crews begin to dig test holes for geological and archeological work.
“Our sense is that the ruling was pretty clear,” said Carey Johanneson, project lead with Trans Mountain Pipeline. “The ruling and the NEB act provide us with the ability to do that.”
With the different interpretations of the ruling keeping the two sides apart, Johanneson said work will go ahead with or without Burnaby’s approval sometime in the fall, with the first digs starting in early 2015.
“We’re saying very clearly that if you go in and start drilling holes in the mountain, we’re going to bring in a cease-and-desist order,” said Corrigan.
From there the showdown moves back to the NEB, as the company will try to get the quasi-judicial body to overrule the city’s bylaws, which then opens the dispute up to a constitutional challenge in the courts.
“We’ve been going down the path of trying to work with the city and I guess if we can’t, then the lawyers will take over,” said Johanneson.